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Beyond a Reasonable Drought - a Poem About Natural Disaster

John is passionate about human and animal rights, social justice, equality, and the environment, and likes to convey that in his writing.


Drought in Australia

Australia is a continent defined by extremes, and recent decades have seen some extraordinary climate events. But droughts, floods, heatwaves, and fires have battered Australia for millennia. Are recent extreme events really worse than those in the past?

In studies conducted by The University of Melbourne, 800 years of seasonal rainfall patterns across the Australian continent were reconstructed. These new records show that parts of Northern Australia are wetter than ever before and that major droughts of the late 20th and early 21st centuries in southern Australia are likely unprecedented over the past 400 years. This has subsequently resulted in the increasing incidence of severe bushfire in recent years, particularly in 2019. (source: University of Melbourne)


Beyond A Reasonable Drought

The land is parched and drying,

Fields dusty brown and frying.

You can hear the farmer crying

As his livestock fall down, dying.

The morning grass devoid of dew

The cloudless sky sweet baby blue.

Wildflowers gone, where they once grew,

Thick trees no longer block your view.

The birds still sing, but not with cheer,

Scarce food and water not so near,

As daytime temperatures burn and sear.

Will it rain again this year?

Scroll to Continue

Wildlife ventures far afield

Looking for some better yield.

Crossing roads, their fate is sealed,

Death - the risky cards they're dealed.

This wide brown land of sweeping plain,

In desperate need of Summer rain

To refill dams, grow grass and grain,

Bring everything to life again.

Sunburned Country- Olivia, and Keith Urban

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on April 25, 2016:

Hi Bill, thanks for reading this one. You're right that Olivia is spectacular and I had a big crush on her as a teenager. A real Aussie icon. Keith is good too and went to school with my brother.

Bill Russo from Cape Cod on April 25, 2016:

Very well done John. Thanks for that and also for that video with Olivia Newton John and Keith Urban. Keith is very good and Olivia is spectacular. I'm glad to note that she is still working and is still in top form.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on October 13, 2014:

Thank you for reading this Marie. Your wonderful insightful comment adds greatly to this hub. It would be so sad if our whole world became like my description and these sad pictures. Our country still has beautiful rain forests and green hills but these are becoming less and less. The more trees that are cleared for development the less rainfall will fall on the land in our already driest continent on Earth. I pray man has an epiphany and changes his ways before it is too late.

Marie Lawrence on October 13, 2014:

I found this hub to be a cry of awakening for all of us who love our amazing earth and its green meadows, rivers, forests, oceans and wildlife- all of its glorious diversity! I found the poem to be very poignant in its imagery of a once beautiful land caught in the grip of climate change and its urgent call to act now if we want to save what is so much a part of our humanity and our well-being! As a child, I remember running through the fields with other children and seeing so much wildlife, monarch butterflies, and wild flowers. Now, you see much more barren landscapes in places which were once teeming with life. Is this the legacy that we want to leave our children? I think not. We cannot destroy the earth without essentially destroying ourselves, physically and spiritually. Thank you for creating this hub that shows us through words and powerful images a world which may become devoid of the splendor that was once ours and if we fail to act, maybe gone forever!

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on October 13, 2014:

My sentiments exactly Availiavision. We have to act now ans start conserving water and trying to live sustainably. People see photos of Australia and our great beaches etc but don't realise that this is the driest continent on Earth. Most of the population lives along the coastline. The interior is mostly desert. Thanks for reading.

Jennifer Arnett from California on October 13, 2014:

I didn't realize that is was so bad there. Here in California, the drought is getting relly bad, but we are doing everything we can to cut back. My family replaced our lawn with a stone patio, fountains are being taken out, and there are tons of rules for when you can water your garden. The problem is that we built cities in areas with water sources that cannot sustain the size of the population. If we are to survive beyond the next few decades, some major changed must take place.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on October 12, 2014:

My pleasure Carrie, thank you for reading and commenting. Drought is one of those things we have to learn to live with.

Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on October 12, 2014:

Touching and brutally honest. Great poem :) Thank you for sharing and giving us a reality check not to take rain for granted.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on October 12, 2014:

Hi Carter, good to hear from another Aussie who has been through drought and can understand exactly what it's like. Definitely not pleasant especially having to watch stock die or have them put down. Fortunately we have only had to buy in water once, but we have gone close many seems when the tanks are down to the last few drops the skies open up. Glad you liked this poem. It my lowest rated hub and in danger of being up featured so I needed to try to get some traffic happening.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on October 12, 2014:

Thanks for reading Mary and your kind comment. The norm here (if there still is one now climate change is playing havoc) is to have seven years of drought and then flooding rains to relieve the situation for awhile. Droughts seem to be more frequent, but we have been cut off from home by flooding twice in the last five years so instead of rain being sporadic throughout the year it seems to all come at once. I appreciate the vote up.

Mary from Cronulla NSW on October 12, 2014:

I don't know how I missed this one Joda as being an Aussie the topic is so close to my heart.. I lived in country NSW for a long time and was on a property through the early eighties drought.. think: dust storms; buying in water for tank supplies and shooting nearly dead from starvation & thirst livestock.. this great poem hits the mark..great photo's btw


Mary Hyatt from Florida on October 12, 2014:

We have extreme climate changes here in Florida. We go through dry spells, then it rains and I think the rain will never stop.

Such a sad work, but your description of the drought is wonderful.

Voted UP, etc.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on January 02, 2014:

Wow Blossom, thank you so much. To be compared to Dorothea Mackellar is unthinkable. She is one of Australia's greatest ever poets and My Country an Australian iconic poem. I understand where you saw similarities though, where I mention "this wide brown land" and the subject of drough. Undoubtedly some of my inspiration for it came from memories of her wonderful poem. (If anyone wants to read it here's a link: ).

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on January 02, 2014:

So well written - you create the atmosphere very well. At least we haven't had so many bushfires across the nation - yet! - this summer. Reminds me a little of 'My Country.'

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 31, 2013:

Thanks for your great comment and kind words Jo. Climate change is havng a real and dramatic effect. Happy New Yesr.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 31, 2013:

Thanks Eddy, always love having you read and comment on my hubs.

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on December 31, 2013:

An awesome piece of work. The degree of climate change in the last few years can be frightening, there is pure devastation in some places, I hope the new year brings the welcoming rains to your area.

And A Happy New Year to you.

Eiddwen from Wales on December 31, 2013:

Brilliant work as always Jodah.


John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 31, 2013:

Thanks Ann, yes drought is too common here and often results in bush fires as well. We have rainwater tanks, they overflow when it's flooding and run dry when there's a drought....need more I guess. Happy New Year to you.

Ann Carr from SW England on December 31, 2013:

Great poem & illustrations. It's such a problem in so many places.

They panic here when we have a so-called 'drought', then we have flooding all over the place, as we've had recently. There's no excuse for water shortages in Britain but we don't manage it very well. We're not affected here so we're lucky.

Happy New Year to you and yours! Ann

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 30, 2013:

Sure Eric, any time. Always great to have a side kick. Where would Batman be without Robin, The Lone Ranger without Tonto, Abbot without Costello?

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 30, 2013:

Thank you so much Jackie, I'm glad this one appealed to you. I aim to please. Thanks for the vote up and share.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 30, 2013:

And I am just a small child who puts his hand in your back pocket and follows you around. That is the best friend ever.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on December 30, 2013:

Just my kind of poetry, I love it. It is beautiful. Up and sharing.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 30, 2013:

Thanks Eric, it is common courtesy. Unfortunately some people lack it. Oh yes our pet dogs will always let us know if a wild one is nearby. It's the flees I have to beware

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 30, 2013:

I appreciate good folk who write back to visitors. This is a good quality and worthy of praise.

Let all the dogs in your home but please watch out for the wild ones.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 30, 2013:

Thank you for reading and your kind comment Alicia. Yes 2013 was a bad one here, I hope the coming one is kinder.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 30, 2013:

Thank you Betty, I hope your prayers are answered.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 30, 2013:

Thanks for reading Eric, glad you liked it. Oh yes, the other Eric is quite a guy, very passionate and thought provoking. You should check out his hubs.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on December 30, 2013:

You've created a great description of drought, Jodah. The situation sounds horrible. I hope that 2014 is a good year for you and your environment.

Betty (Alawine) Overstreet from Vacaville, Ca. on December 30, 2013:

wonderfully written. Praying for rain.

Eric Wayne Flynn from Providence, Rhode Island on December 30, 2013:

Great poem Jodah, and this Ericdierker is a passionate guy ay? I read his comments, they are poetic unto themselves.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 30, 2013:

Thanks Bill, recent trends seem to be for us to get floods for two years followed by drought for at least two. This has been a very dry Summer. Thanks for your thoughts and blessings.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 30, 2013:

It has been a tough summer for your country hasn't it John? Sending hopes for that summer rain you need, and blessings for the new year.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 30, 2013:

@MsDora, thank you so much for your generous comments. Glad you enjoyed this poem.

@Faith, It's an important subject for me. I'm not affected as bad as many but it is still not pleasant. Thanks for your kind comments and the vote up.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on December 30, 2013:

Very dramatic poem here and your words were visual enough, even without the added great imagery!

Up and more and sharing


Faith Reaper

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 30, 2013:

I like everything about this poem--the title, the rhymes, the rhythm, the theme of ruin to restoration. A super great read! Thank you.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 30, 2013:

The only thing I have to give is me, and the only thing me has is love. Peace

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 30, 2013:

Thanks for your comments Cam, yes it is sad to see animals perish and farmers lose their livelihood. Increasing numbers of men on the land have reached breaking point, and suicide is an ever increasing problem. Thank you for your wish for rain also.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on December 30, 2013:

Jodah, this brought back to mind my reading about the dust bowl. How very sad it to see men and animals, crops and land so devastated. I hope rain heads your way soon.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 30, 2013:

Thank you Eric for honouring me with your presence. I am glad I could teach you something with these mere words. From one "good" man(I hope) to another.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 30, 2013:

Ah Nadine, what a coincidence that you said my "words stream like a flowing river" haha. Maybe that is a prophesy that rain is on it's way. I hope so. Thank you for your wonderful comment.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 30, 2013:

Flourish, I am constantly blown away by the amazing comments my hubs get from accomplished writers such as yourself. Thank you for your praise and vote up.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 30, 2013:

We are not without dirt.They say we are dust. How wrong they are for we are dirt. Big difference.

And then some one comes along and piles my dirt as big as you. And makes a great man out of the same stuff as me.

We are made better by good men who write good things for us to hear. And you are a good man. And so I learned today from you.

Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on December 30, 2013:

Absolutely beautiful the way your words stream like a flowing river. Interesting that I came up with that comment to do with water! Well done.

FlourishAnyway from USA on December 29, 2013:

Very sad and the mental images you conjure up are not so imaginary, unfortunately. Good poem, voted up and more.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 29, 2013:

Thank you so much Mary for your generous comments and vote up. It is a huge problem in this country, and we are almost out of water at the moment.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on December 29, 2013:

Great to see you first out of the blocks to read this poem Frank. Always great to get your comments, better go grab a glass of cool water.

Mary McShane from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on December 29, 2013:

Beautiful poem about a much ignored topic. Although your photos were well suited, your words painted the pictures perfectly. Voted up, awesome and beautiful.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on December 29, 2013:

wow this poem just dried my throat great write and the photo lines --

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